. 2019 Apr; 9(2): e147–e152.
Published online 2019 Apr 29. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1687873
PMCID: PMC6488351
PMID: 31041119

Babesiosis in Pregnancy: An Imitator of HELLP Syndrome


HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) is a serious pregnancy complication that can cause significant maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. There are several conditions that may occur in pregnancy that may imitate the laboratory findings and clinical presentation of HELLP syndrome. Babesiosis is a parasitic imitator of HELLP syndrome that can be spread by the tick, transfusions, or congenitally. Recognition and treatment of this condition is important to optimize maternal and fetal outcomes.



Babesia is a common coinfection of Lyme. Babesia and Lyme are both congenitally transmitted from mother to baby. Research has shown those infected with both have symptoms of greater severity and of longer duration.

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